Canada, British Columbia support innovation on farm

From: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

British Columbia companies continue to bring innovation to the farm, using technology to develop new products and processes that will support food production and food security in British Columbia.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia are supporting 14 new projects with more than $2.4 million through the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program to help create opportunities in the province’s agricultural and technology industries.

Surrey-based BC Hot House Foods is widely known for its greenhouse-grown cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. With funding of over $380,000, BC Hot House is working to develop a feasible method to cultivate greenhouse strawberries commercially in British Columbia for people to enjoy year-round. The company is working with experts from Europe who have had success in growing soft fruit in protected environments.

Ecoation Innovative Solutions in North Vancouver is receiving $500,000 to develop and test an automated pesticide-free crop treatment that will immediately address pests in greenhouse vegetables, using a crop monitoring robot the company invented. The technology involves use of biological control agents and UV-based disinfection. The location-based intelligence is gathered and provided to growers through a web application that was developed by Ecoation. The technology’s treatment system pilot in vegetable greenhouses will be the first time it is used in Canada.

Vancouver-based Forest Foods Ltd. is supporting several Indigenous communities in British Columbia that are engaged in the production of wild forest mushrooms and plant-based foods. The company is receiving close to $15,000 to develop two facility design plans to help with packaging and processing. The first design is for a mobile facility that will focus on cleaning and packaging forest mushrooms and plant-based forest foods. The second is for a fixed facility that will incorporate processing capacities for the commercialization of a variety of products. Both designs will be presented to the Indigenous communities with the intent of developing the facilities to support the expansion of their business operations and deliver Indigenous-branded forest mushrooms and plant-based foods to market, both domestically and internationally.

Projects under the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program have received over $7.3 million in funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial agreement that includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services through March 2023.

Quotes

“B.C. companies are really stepping up to the plate with innovative technologies and solutions to the various challenges faced by our agricultural sector. They are finding ways to grow more of the top quality food we love, more sustainably and more efficiently. With the close cooperation of my counterpart Minister Popham, we will always get behind these forward-looking projects that will help achieve a bright future for the agriculture sector in British Columbia.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Bringing innovation into the agriculture industry is taking the sector to new levels and creating more opportunities in communities around the province. Technology can transform and improve the way farmers and processors do their daily work, while keeping their products the way consumers enjoy them. This is just one of the many ways B.C. companies are evolving to stay competitive.”

– Lana Popham, British Columbia’s Minister of Agriculture

“The Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program provides unique opportunities to Canadian agriculture companies to showcase Canadian-made solutions to the world and establish Canada/B.C. as a global leader and knowledge epicentre on all topics related to the future of food. This program allows companies like Ecoation to directly engage industry partners and demonstrate solutions that meet the need of the farming industry. Demonstrating technology under real-world conditions is critical for market adoption and scaling in domestic and international markets. The program de-risks new technology adoption and provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between farms and technology providers.”

– Saber Miresmailli, founder and CEO, Ecoation Innovative Solutions

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